According to the calendar, spring has arrived.  But Chicagoans know all too well that winter fades slowly around here.  Hopefully this weekend’s spring activities will help us shed our winter blues!

Welcoming spring after a long, cold Chicago winter, the Chicago Flower & Garden Show returns Saturday and Sunday to Navy Pier (600 E. Grand Ave.) in the Streeterville neighborhood.  This year’s theme, “Flowertales:  The Story Grows On” focuses on the unique role that flora plays in literature.  The show features life-sized gardens, dozens of vendors, how-to workshops, and instructional seminars.  There’s even a kids’ activity garden where kids can play and interact with garden projects, potting parties, crafts, and more!  It’s the premier outdoor living and landscape consumer lifestyle show in the Midwest that inspires, educates, and motivates!!

Focused on the fast-growing Good Food movement, the Good Food Festival is this Saturday (10:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.) at the UIC Forum (725 W. Roosevelt Rd.) in the University Village neighborhood.  This show features an outstanding collection of expert speakers, celebrity chefs, farmers, entrepreneurs, DIY enthusiasts, workshops, a Purple Asparagus Kids’ Corner, a scavenger hunt, a Good Food Court, and much more!  This event plays a key role in growing the vibrant Good Food community in Chicago and throughout the Midwest!!

The largest pop culture convention in the Midwest for fans of comics, graphic novels, anime, manga, video games, toys, and movies returns Saturday and Sunday to McCormick Place (2301 S. Lake Shore Dr.) in the South Loop with the Chicago Comic and Event Expo (C2E2).  Once again, C2E2 is bringing a superb list of talent including a reunion of the 1995 classic film Clueless, featuring Alicia Silverstone, Donald Faison, Paul Rudd, and Breckin Meyer.  This year, C2E2 teams up with Experimental Gamer to bring fans two different escape room experiences – the Cursed High School or the Starship Astraeus – chock full of puzzles to solve!

Celebrate your tattoos or plan out a few new ones at the 10th annual Chicago Tattoo Arts Convention this Saturday (11:00 a.m.-12:00 a.m.) and Sunday (11:00 a.m.-8:00 p.m.) at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center (5555 N. River Rd.) in Rosemont.  There will be an array of vendors, a variety of entertainment, a tattoo contest, and much more!  You’ll can even make an appointment with a tattoo artist (including talent featured on Ink Masters)!!

Kick off your spring running season at the Bank of America Shamrock Shuffle this Sunday (8:30 a.m.) at Grant Park (337 E. Randolph St.) in The Loop.  This is one of Chicago’s best running events, with a one-of-a-kind course that weaves its way through Chicago’s Loop.  Shufflers will receive a Nike race shirt, a festive winter hat, and an official finisher’s medal.  A post-race party will be held at Buckingham Fountain immediately following the race featuring “Stache!” playing live from 9:30 a.m.-1:00 p.m.  The celebration will then continue at The Scout Waterhouse & Kitchen (1301 S. Wabash Ave.) for those shufflers who can’t get enough!!

It’s Time to Shed Winter Once and For All!

Short-Term or Long-Term Amortization Periods: Which One is Best For a Mortgage?

There are a number of factors to consider when choosing a particular mortgage product. While the interest rate and fees associated with a home loan are certainly important factors to consider, so is the amortization period.

Basically, the amortization period refers to the length of time that you have to fully repay your home loan. There are different amortization period lengths to choose from, depending on what you’re most comfortable with and what your lender is able to offer you.

But generally speaking, you can choose between either a long-term or short-term amortization period. Both have their perks and drawbacks, which you’ll need to sift through to determine which avenue is best for you.

Pros and Cons of Short-Term Amortization Periods

If you choose a short-term amortization – such as 5 or 10 years – you’ll have a shorter amount of time to pay off your mortgage. Let’s go over some of the benefits and drawbacks of this time frame.


Pay off your mortgage sooner – Since the life of the loan is much shorter in comparison to long-term amortization periods, your mortgage can be paid off a lot sooner. Once that loan term expiry date comes and goes (assuming you’ve been diligent with your installment payments), your mortgage will be fully paid off, allowing you to achieve financial freedom sooner rather than later.

Save money in interest – Since you’ll be on the hook for paying your mortgage for a shorter period of time, you’ll spend less time paying into the interest option of your home loan. If you spend more time paying your mortgage, you’ll also be spending more on interest to the lender.

But the opposite is also true: the less time to spend paying the mortgage, the less interest will be paid to the lender, which can save you a bundle at the end of the day.

Interest rates are usually slightly lower – Many lenders reward borrowers for choosing a shorter amortization period with a slightly lower interest rate compared to longer-term time frames. As such, you may be able to save quite a bit of money in interest over the life of your loan.


Monthly mortgage payments are much higher – If you have less time to pay off your loan amount, your monthly mortgage payments will be higher. As such, shorter-amortizations often translate into mortgage payments that are not affordable for many borrowers.

Pros and Cons of Long-Term Amortization Periods

Choosing a mortgage with a longer amortization- like 20 or 25 years – also comes with its own set of advantages and disadvantages, which we’ll take a look at.


Make smaller monthly mortgage payments – Perhaps the biggest advantage of a long-term amortization period is the fact that the monthly mortgage payments are cheaper. Because you have a lot more time to pay off the same loan amount, each installment payment will be less compared to repaying your loan within a shorter time frame.

As such, long-term amortization periods can make mortgages a lot more affordable for many borrowers who may not otherwise have the budget to accommodate larger monthly payments. This is the main reason why long-term amortization periods tend to be a lot more popular and common among homebuyers, especially first-timers.


Takes longer to pay off – The farther out the end date of the loan term, the longer it will take to pay off the mortgage. As such, you’ll be stuck with your mortgage for a much longer amount of time than you would if you chose a shorter-term mortgage. And the longer it takes you to pay off your mortgage in full, the longer you’ll have to be committed to these payments.

More interest is paid over the life of the loan – With every year added to a mortgage term comes more interest paid over the life of the loan. The more time your lender gives you to pay off your mortgage, the more they’ll earn in interest payments from you. This can mean tens of thousands of dollars more spent in interest over the life of the loan compared to a shorter-term amortization period.

To illustrate, let’s compare a $200,000 mortgage with a 4.5% interest rate at a 15-year term versus a 25-year term. Over a 15-year term, the total interest paid would be $65,694, whereas the amount would be $115,612 for a 25-year term. That’s quite a difference in interest paid for the same loan amount, though the monthly payments would obviously be higher for the shorter-term mortgage to compensate.

The Bottom Line

When it comes to short- versus long-term amortization periods, one isn’t necessarily better than the other. It all comes down to what’s more appropriate and convenient for you.

If you’re able to afford larger monthly payments and are working towards financial freedom sooner rather than later, then a short-term amortization might be best. But if you need something that will fit better within your tight budget, perhaps it’s best to go with something more long-term. Discuss your options with your lender to help you make your final decision.

CHICAGO NEIGHBORHOOD NEWS: Lincoln Park, Bucktown and Wicker Park, Lakeview, River North, Lincoln Square, Oak Park

Lincoln Park: Spring has almost sprung here in Chicago! Mark your calendars for the Chicago Wine Fest on Saturday, April 27 at the Lincoln Park Zoo. You’ll experience an elevated wine tasting experience, great food, and live musical performances. There are three separate sessions to choose from: noon, 3:30 pm, or 7 pm. VIP tickets include early access, which means more time to sample delicious wines and chat with representatives. This event is for ages 21 and older. Tickets start at $35 and can be purchased here.

Bucktown and Wicker Park: Join FFC- Fitness Formula Clubs- for a complimentary open house this weekend! From Friday, March 22 to Sunday, March 24, the club will be open for all guests to try. All classes and amenities are included. On March 22 at 12 pm, there will be a HIIT (high intensity interval training) bootcamp that is open to non-members. On March 23 at 11 am, FFC’s nutritionist will be onsite to answer your questions about diets, general health, and overall wellbeing. Find more information here.

Lakeview: Eat, drink, and give at Dining Out For Life Chicago on Thursday, April 25. This is an annual dining fundraising event raising money for community-based organizations serving people living with or impacted by HIV. The event spans dozens of cities and thousands of participating restaurants. Here in Chicago, the event is sponsored by TPAN- Test Positive Awareness Network, whose mission is to save and empower lives affected by HIV. Over 20 participating restaurants will donate a portion of their proceeds to TPAN. Lakeview restaurants include Chicago Diner Lakeview, Elixir Lakeview, Ella Elli, Hutch American Kitchen + Bar, Replay Beer and Bourbon, and more. Find the full list here.

River North: The One of a Kind Spring Show returns to Merchandise Mart from April 26-28. Now in its 4th year, the show will feature over 300 artists and makers from across North America. You can browse accessories, home goods, jewelry, sculpture, photography, ceramics, furniture, mixed media, and much more. Hours are Friday from 11 am to 8 pm, Saturday from 10 am to 7 pm, and Sunday from 10 am to 5 pm. Tickets are just $12 and are good for all 3 days. Purchase yours here now.

Lincoln Square: Get excited for DOC10! DOC10 is Chicago’s highly pedigreed all documentary film festival, held at the Davis Theatre from April 11-14. The festival features screenings of 10 documentary films, Q&A’s with filmmakers, VR content, industry panels, creative workshops, and more. Individual tickets start at $16 and there are a variety of ticket options and prices available. Find more information here.

Oak Park: Spring Break is Super Hero Week at Wonder Works Children’s Museum! From Monday March 25 through Friday March 29 from 10 am to 5 pm every day, your kiddos will jump, swing, and fly their way through Super Hero Training! This is a weeklong adventure of play and learning. Find more information on their website!


Restaurant Review – Rojo Gusano

I’m always in search of the next great taco! If you’ve been reading this review for any length of time, you know that I LOVE tacos. And this week, I found some great tacos. Rojo Gusano is located in Ravenswood, at 4217 N Ravenswood Ave. The atmosphere is immediately welcoming, with gorgeous hanging planters, rustic wood tables, cozy couches with colored throw pillows, and warm lighting. We came in around noon on a Saturday and were seated right away. One look at the menu at my mouth was already watering. We knew we had to start with an order of chips and salsa. You can order salsas as a single, pair, or trio. We wanted to try all three! The first is called Arbol: roasted tomatillos, onions, and garlic with toasted peanuts. The second is called Macha: roasted Spanish onions, chile pasilla, chile morita, and chile guajillo. The third is called Cremosa: jalapeño, roasted garlic, and onion smoothed out with avocado and cream cheese. The chips are made in-house and they were absolutely fantastic. They were huge- it almost looked like half of a corn tortilla! They were perfectly salted and wonderfully thick and crispy. I loved the trio of salsas, it was so fun to try all of the varieties. We quickly chose our favorites; I loved the Cremosa and my boyfriend adored the Arbol. Each salsa had such a unique flavor and they were all very tasty. My boyfriend ordered three tacos; the Cochinita, Chicken Tinga, and Arrachera. The Cochinita is pork cooked in an achiote marinade in banana leaves topped with pickled red onions. This had a wonderful flavor! The pork was melt in your mouth and the sharpness of the onions really complimented the rich meat. The Chicken Tinga taco comes topped with chipotle salsa, crema, and queso fresco. My boyfriend ordered his without the crema and cheese. This was very tasty as well! The chicken was very well seasoned and was very juicy. The Arrachera was his favorite of the three: skirt steak, bell pepper, and sautéed onions topped with arbol salsa and cilantro. The steak was so well cooked, it was flavorful and juicy. We both loved the simplicity of the toppings on this one- they complimented the meat without being overpowering. I ordered three tacos as well: Charred Butternut Squash, Pork Belly, and Baja Fish. The Charred Butternut Squash was topped with roasted kale, arbol salsa, and queso fresco. This was marvelous! The butternut squash was mashed, which is so unusual and interesting for a taco. I loved the addition of the roasted kale as well. The Pork Belly had a Tamarindo chipotle salsa, pickled red onions, and cilantro. This was tasty, but I found the pork belly to be a bit lacking. It just didn’t have enough flavor for me. The Baja Fish is topped with chipotle mayo, scallions, cilantro, sesame seeds, and pickled onions. This was my favorite of the three! The fish was perfectly cooked and the mix of toppings gave it a rich and unique flavor. We will definitely be back!

Rojo Gusano also has another location in Albany Park, located at 3830 W Lawrence Ave. The Ravenswood location is open Sundays through Thursdays from 11:30 am to 10 pm and Fridays and Saturdays from 11:30 am to 11 pm. Find more information on their website.


Kathy’s Home & Garden Tips – Spring House Check

Now with hints of warmer weather coming, we can get outside and see how the house survived the long winter. Before you know it, summer will be here and many other things will take up your time; so take advantage of the time you have now!

Look at the roof. Get up on a ladder if you are able; but better yet call a professional. Have them check all the shingles, flashing, and the chimney. Winter can be hard on roofs and inexpensive fixes now will prevent you from needing a new roof later. If your roof is older, start budgeting for a replacement. Check the gutters for leaking. Make sure downspouts are long enough to divert water away from the foundation.

Look around at the concrete. Repair any cracks with concrete crack filler or silicone caulk. When  the weather is steadily warmer, you can power wash and seal.

See how the exposed wood around the outside is doing. Use a screwdriver to prod the wood around your windows, doors, railings, and decks. Repair or replace as needed. Always repaint or seal with a good outdoor rated paint or stain.

Service the A/C unit. Doing it now will ensure you beat everyone calling the HVAC guy in May when the first hot days come. Clean away any vegetation or other debris around the unit; it needs free flowing air around it. You can use bushes to screen the unit but keep 3 feet of air space around it.

Check your outside faucets. If you can stop the water flow with your thumb, it’s likely there  is  freeze damage in the line. Consult a plumber. Check all the hoses for dry rot, check hose couplings, and repair or replace as necessary.

Start the lawn mower and other lawn machines like the leaf blower and trimmer. Check their plugs and cords for safety. Old corded trimmers and blowers can be replaced with battery powered units.


8 Best Paint Colors For Your Front Door

Curb appeal speaks volumes. It not only creates a welcoming vibe to your home, but it also plays a key role in its value, too. Given this, it’s important to keep up with your home’s curb appeal and spruce it up if need be.

And while plenty of things come into play that influences your home’s curb appeal, your front door is an important component. A tired, drab, worn-out front door that’s seen better days can really pull down the look and feel of your home’s exterior. But the opposite is also true: a front door that’s in great shape can make your home seem more inviting and can even help increase the perceived value of your property.

If your front door could use a little extra pep, all it might take is a fresh coat of paint. With a small investment and a little elbow grease, you can almost instantly take your front door from drab to fab. The question is, what’s the best paint color for your front door?

Here are a few suggestions.

1. Fire Engine Red

While not a standard color for a front door, red is still a somewhat popular choice among homeowners who are looking to add a pop of color to their home’s exterior. Red doors work well paired with just about any exterior materials, including stucco, siding, and brick. And with contrasting trim, the color can really make your front entrance stand out in a good way.

2. Orange-Red

Just as vibrant as simple red, tones with a mix of orange are still fiery and playful and go quite well with warm tones on surrounding surfaces.

3. Burgundy

If you’re a little sheepish about going bright with red, then consider a toned-down version of the same hue, like burgundy. It’s a great option for homeowners who love the idea of color but don’t necessarily want to be overly bold. Burgundy is reminiscent of brick red with brown undertones and still offers plenty of pizzazz compared to brighter hues.

4. Lime Green

A non-conventional choice for a front door is lime green, though it’s not just a hue that needs to be reserved for your fruit bowl or flower beds. Instead, lime green has a savvy way of instantly cheering up any surface, and what better spot to do the cheering than with the front door! In fact, any neutral-toned home would do quite well with the addition of a bright and non-traditional color like lime green.

5. Pine Green

You can’t go wrong with green, no matter where you are on the color spectrum. And another shade of green that works quite well on front doors is a deeper pine green. This cool hue pairs really nicely with white, light gray, and navy blue accents.

6. Teal

A vibrant color no matter where you put it, teal works quite well on a front door. If you’re tired of the average browns and taupes on these surfaces, consider trying something completely different with teal.

7. Black

Black has a way of making any home look grand and rich. And painting trim and shutters in the same ebony hue can make your home’s exterior look even more stately.

8. White

Not exactly a color, stark white is a neutral that goes with everything. And while not the most exciting shade, sometimes white works best, especially if all other surfaces are busy in color. On the other hand, even an all-white exterior may pair well with a white front door, particularly when accented by contrasting dark tones.

The Bottom Line

The inside of your home could be amazingly decked out, but there’s little reason not to give your home’s exterior just as much attention. And if you’re planning to sell some time in the near future, then sprucing up your curb appeal should be on the agenda. And one of the best ways to enhance the exterior of your home is to give your front door a face lift. Consider any one of the above colors to instantly brighten your home’s exterior.


From pub crawls to parades, there’s nothing quite like St. Patrick’s Day in Chicago!  In fact, we’re all going Irish for the weekend!!

For over 40 years the Chicago Journeymen Plumbers have turned the Chicago River an emerald green, kicking off the city’s St. Patrick’s Day celebrations.  This year’s Dyeing of the Chicago River (between Columbus and Wacker Drives) is scheduled for 9:00 a.m. on Saturday.  The best viewing spots are on the east side of Michigan Avenue, the west side of Columbus Drive, or upper and lower Wacker Drive between Michigan Avenue and Columbus Drive.

Saturday’s festivities continue with the city’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade: The Music of Ireland at 12:00 p.m. from Columbus Drive and Balbo Avenue in the South Loop.  Spectators can take in all things Irish with colorful floats waving green/white/orange flags, troops of step dancers, marching bands, bagpipers, and more during this three-hour celebration!  If you want more elbow and viewing room, snag a spot near the start of the parade in Grant Park; otherwise, get out there early!!  After all, it is one of the largest St. Patrick’s Day parades in the country!!!

After the downtown parade, head over to the St. Patrick’s Festival at the Irish American Heritage Center (4626 N. Knox Ave.) in the Albany Park neighborhood for the city’s largest day-long celebration (1:00 p.m.-12:00 a.m.).  This family-oriented event is packed with traditional and contemporary Irish music, dance, food and drink for purchase, children’s activities, and an Arts & Crafts Fair with vendors selling Irish gifts!

No Chicago St. Patrick’s Day celebration would be complete without a bar crawl or two!  In fact, the city has several planned for Saturday, including:

The Chicago Shamrock Crawl meets up at Casey Moran’s (3660 N. Clark St.) at 8:00 a.m. and crawls from bar to bar in the Wrigleyville neighborhood.  Tickets include admission, a t-shirt, breakfast buffet, a gift card to use on the crawl, giveaways, and more!  Be sure to come decked out in green- as everyone is Irish on St. Patrick’s Day!!

Pick the neighborhood and the bar crawl that you and your friends wish to visit at St. Patrick’s Day – The Five Saints Crawl on Saturday.  Crawls include the River North morning crawl, the River North afternoon crawl, the Division Street afternoon crawl, the Wicker Park bar crawl, the Lincoln Park bar crawl, and the new kid in town: the Logan Square bar crawl!  And if you’re feeling ambitious, you can hit them all; but remember, you still have Sunday’s events!!

Enjoy live, authentic Irish performances including Irish dancing, Irish dance lessons, and a three-piece band by the Old Town School of Folk Music at St. Patrick’s Day at Gallagher Way (3637 N. Clark St.) in the Wrigleyville neighborhood on Sunday (11:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m.).  Other festivities include lawn games, face painting, balloons, and crafts for the kids!

A long-time tradition, the South Side Irish Parade is a family-friendly celebration of Irish heritage.  The parade steps off at noon from 103rd Street and proceeds south down Western Avenue to 115th Street in the Beverly neighborhood.  Spectators line the route to watch the bands, dance troops, and parade queen. Don’t forget to stop inside the neighborhood bars to raise a pint with the locals!

Enjoy the Northwest Side Irish Parade that celebrates faith, family, and Irish heritage on Sunday (12:00 p.m.) stepping off from Onahan School (6634 W. Raven St.) in the Norwood Park neighborhood.  Afterwards, the Immaculate Conception Recreation Center (7271 W. Talcott Ave.) will be hosting an after-party (1:00 p.m.-5:00 p.m.) with a corned beef and cabbage dinner, cheesecake, beer, wine, soda, and live entertainment!

Will You Be Going Irish With Us?

6 Ways to Boost Security in Your Condo, Even Without a Concierge

All homeowners want to take measures to make sure their homes are secure and that all occupants within their homes are kept safe at all times. When it comes to condos, there is usually an added level of security in the form of a locked main entrance, security cameras, or 24-hour concierge. In secure buildings, visitors typically have to be buzzed in by a guard or an owner before they’re allowed in.

But as much as homeowners associations are responsible for making sure that their buildings are secure at all times, unit owners can take measures into their own hands as well to ramp up their own personal security.

Here are suggestions to take the level of security of your condo to the next level, whether or not your particular building is armed with 24-hour surveillance.

1. Consider Installing an Alarm For Your Unit

The building itself will come with its own security measures, but you might want to consider having your own security alarm installed in your unit. While you may have to get permission from your HOA to install an alarm, it can give you more peace of mind knowing that there’s another hurdle that thieves must go through in order to cause any amount of harm.

You might be even willing to take things a step further and have an alarm installed in your locker as well, especially if you’ve got valuables stashed away in there.

2. Never Lets Strangers in Behind You When You Enter the Building

Owners of the building are equipped either with a fob or a code that allows them to enter through main entrances of the building. Anyone else who doesn’t have either one of these things will need to be let in by someone who knows them. If you happen to be near the entrance and notice someone you’re not familiar asking to be buzzed in or trying to slip in behind you, resist the urge to be polite for a moment.

You don’t know who the person is, so you could be inadvertently allowing someone with bad intentions into the building. The person that they’re coming to see – if their visit is legitimate – should be the one to let them in. Even if the person is wearing a uniform, don’t allow them to enter unless they’re armed with appropriate identification.

3. Always Keep Your Balcony Doors Locked

Locking the door to your unit is a no-brainer, but are you guilty of leaving your balcony door unlocked from time to time? People with bad intentions will go to great lengths to break into units, including trying to go through balcony entrances.

Don’t underestimate what some people will do to gain entrance to other people’s homes, including climbing walls and making their way through any nook and cranny they can access, and balcony doors are one of them.

4. Block Windows and Install Bars if You’re on the First Floor

There are advantages to living on the first floor of a building; namely, not having to take an elevator every time you want to go in and out. But having a first-floor unit also comes with certain hazards that other unit owners on higher levels might not have to worry about, including being within easier access to criminals.

If you live on the main level, consider blocking out your windows. Thieves like to have a look inside where they plan to break into, and if they can’t see what’s inside, they may be less inclined to break in. You can do this either with blinds or even with frosted stick-ons.

Further, you might also want to install a bar across your balcony sliding doors to make it nearly impossible for bandits to pry the door open.

5. Get Familiar With the Residents of the Building

Knowing who lives in the building and what their regular routines are can help you get better acquainted with normal ongoings versus activities that seem out of the norm.

By paying attention and getting to know who lives in the building and what their routines are, you’ll be in a better position to spot suspicious activity. So get out there and don’t be afraid to mingle a little.

6. Make Sure the Door Closes Behind You After You Enter

When you enter your building, make sure to wait and verify that the door closes behind you so no one can slip in without anyone noticing.

The Bottom Line

Condo living is usually very secure. There are usually multiple layers of security that you can feel safe behind. But if you really want to ensure the ultimate in safety, consider adopting any one of the above tips. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with going the extra mile to ensure your safety and that of your family.

CHICAGO NEIGHBORHOOD NEWS: Lakeview, Lincoln Park, Bucktown and Wicker Park, Chicago Loop, Logan Square, Evanston

Lakeview: Looking for a great way to spend a weekend day with your kiddos? Emerald City Theatre is concluding it’s 2018-2019 season with the Chicago premiere of “Corduroy”, based on the classic book by Don Freeman. A small bear’s quest for a missing button leads to the friendship of a lifetime! The department store comes to life with circus elements and physical comedy as Corduroy must stay a step ahead of the Night Watchman to be ready for Lisa when she returns to the store. Learn the importance of empathy and unconditional love along with a young girl and her mother in this sweet adaptation. This production is recommended for ages three and up! Tickets start at $22 and are available online or through the Athenaeum Theatre box office at 773.935.6875.

Lincoln Park: Join Kibbitznest for a unique storytelling evening on Wednesday, March 27 from 7-9 pm. Tenx9 is a local community gathering, where nine people have up to ten minutes to tell a real story from their own lives. The theme for this event is “It’s Never Black and White”. This unique type of storytelling was founded by Paul Doran and Pádraig Ó Tuama in Belfast. Speakers and spectators of all experience levels are welcome and the event is 100% free. Find more information here.

Bucktown and Wicker Park: Have you ever been curious about kettlebells? Then this workshop is for you! Head over to HealthSource of Wicker Park for Turkish Get-Up 101 and Circuit Saturday on Saturday, March 23 from 10-11:30 am. The class will be lead by JP of Perpetual Movement and Fitness, certified in Kettlebell Athletics Level 1 and 2. He’ll teach you how to do a proper kettlebell Turkish Get-Up! This challenging move is a great way to challenge stability, mobility, strength, and endurance. Find more information here.

Chicago Loop: Join the Chicago Public Library for “Night in the Stacks”, hosted by the Foundation Associate Board. On Friday, April 5, it will be a fantastic evening of dancing, drinks, and revelry in the Harold Washington Library Center’s Winter Garden. This year’s science fiction themed event blasts off from One Book, One Chicago’s 2018-19 selection Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick. Night in the Stacks features delectable food and drinks, a galactic DJ, and an interactive photo booth. Tickets are $125 and raffle tickets are available for purchase before the event. Find more information here.

Logan Square: Mark your calendars for Roaring City Festival- Chicago’s newest electronic music festival with neo-vintage flair. Held from April 13-14, this fabulous festival features live bands, DJs, sideshow, circus, burlesque, ambient performances, and more. This festival brings vaudevillian entertainment from all over the US to the prohibition style host venue, The Logan Square auditorium. Roaring City will also feature a vendor market curated with the crafts, people, and artists of Chicago. Tickets start at $35 and are sold in tiers. They’ll sell out quickly, so purchase yours here now!

Evanston: TopAct Events presents a special evening at Bourbon N’ Brass Speakeasy- a 1920s Murder Mystery Party! On Saturday April 6 from 6-8:30 pm, you’ll get to play the role of  suspect, detective, or witness and solve the shocking murder of the top Chicago crime boss! Each ticket includes a buffet dinner from Rock N Ravioli’s Italian restaurant, raffle prize giveaways, all murder mystery materials, a character sketch, and photography to capture your party experience. Craft cocktails and beer will be available for purchase. Prior to the event, guests will be sent their assigned character sketch along with an invitation, instructions, summary, and secret password for entry to the speakeasy. 1920s themed attire is encouraged! Tickets are $62 and can be purchased here.


Restaurant Review – Cafe Orchid

Do you have a restaurant that you’ve walked by a thousand times but have never been to? I sure do! And this week I finally went to mine. Cafe Orchid is an unassuming Turkish restaurant, located at the corner of Lincoln and Addison. We went in around 2 o’clock on a Friday afternoon and there were just a few tables. The atmosphere is very comfortable, with a small number of tables inside and a covered patio outside. We knew we wanted to start with an appetizer. We ordered Ezme: chopped, spicy roasted red and green bell peppers, tomatoes, garlic, walnuts, olive oil, and parsley; served with sliced tomatoes, cucumbers, and warm pita bread. This was absolutely fantastic! It had a beautiful combination of sweet and savory flavors and the texture of the chopped walnuts was delightful.  We decided to share a few main dishes. We chose the Adana Shish Kebab: hand chopped ground lamb with red bell peppers, parsley, mint, oregano, black pepper, and garlic; served with green salad, hot and white sauce, and your choice of rice or bulgur (we chose rice). This was just delicious! The lamb was well prepared and was very juicy. I absolutely loved the hot red sauce on the side; it was wonderfully spicy and complemented the rich lamb. The veggies in the green salad were fresh and crisp as well. We also ordered the Falafel Special: falafel, hummus, babaganoush, and a green salad. Babaganoush is a grilled eggplant puree with tahini, fresh lemon juice, garlic, and olive oil. I really liked their take on babaganoush. At other restaurants, the texture of this dish is very similar to hummus, very creamy and smooth. Here, the eggplant was a little chunkier, giving the dish a great texture, as well as flavor. The hummus was really nice too. I enjoyed the falafel too! The outside was nice and crispy and the dipping sauce it came with was very tasty. The portions were very generous and there was plenty for all three of us. After our meal, our server brought us complimentary Turkish tea, served in a lovely glass teacup with a cube of sugar on the side. This is a traditional way to end a meal in Turkey and he wanted us to experience it as it was our first time at Cafe Orchid. The tea was delicious and this was such a lovely gesture and way to finish our meal.

Cafe Orchid is open Sundays through Thursdays from 11 am to 10 pm and Fridays and Saturdays from 11 am to 11 pm. Cafe Orchid has another location in Park Ridge. Both locations offer online ordering, as well as catering services. Check out their website for more information.